This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
Summary: This is an
ordinary crisis log with four items and
four dotted links: Item 1
is about an article by Glenn Greenwald who (once again) explains that
the secret services know almost everything there is to know about
persons, which includes US citizens; item 2 is about the present quite tense situation around North Korea; item 3 is about an article that seemed to me mostly wishful thinking; and item 4
is about an article that promises to be about Trump's dystopian
nightmare, but seems - in my eyes - more designed to sell the dystopian
novel its author wrote.
March 14: As to the
The Danish site is again on time today; but the Dutch site
stuck again - for me - on last Sunday. Where my site on xs4all.nl stuck for others
I have NO idea: It may
2015. (They do want immediate
payment if you are a
week behind. Xs4all.nl has been destroying
my site now for over
a year. And I completely distrust them, but also do not
know whether they are doing it or some secret service is.)
1. Rand Paul Is Right: NSA Routinely Monitors Americans’ Communications Without Warrants
The first item today is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This is from the beginning (and I am summarizing):
Paul explained how the NSA routinely and deliberately spies on
Americans’ communications — listens to their calls and reads their
emails — without a judicial warrant of any kind:
They are not targeting Americans. They are targeting foreigners. But they are doing it purposefully to get to Americans.
Paul’s explanation is absolutely correct. That the NSA is empowered
to spy on Americans’ communications without a warrant — in direct
contravention of the core Fourth Amendment guarantee that “the right of
the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause” — is the dirty little
secret of the U.S. Surveillance State.
Yes indeed. And one underlying point is
thay the Constitution is very difficult to change, so its laws can only
be lied about by those in power who transgress them:
As I documented
at the height of the controversy over the Snowden reporting, top
government officials — including President Obama — constantly deceived
(and still deceive) the public by falsely telling them that their
communications cannot be monitored without a warrant. Responding to the
furor created over the first set of Snowden reports about domestic
spying, Obama sought to reassure Americans by telling Charlie Rose:
“What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA
cannot listen to your telephone calls … by law and by rule, and unless
they … go to a court, and obtain a warrant, and seek probable cause.”
This is plain baloney, that is pure bullshit, that is a fully known fully false utter lie:
Those statements are categorically false. A key purpose of the new 2008
FISA law — which then-Senator Obama voted for during the 2008 general
election after breaking his primary-race promise to filibuster it — was to legalize the once-controversial Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping program, which the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing in 2005.
The crux of the Bush/Cheney controversy was that they ordered NSA
to listen to Americans’ international telephone calls without warrants —
which was illegal at the time — and the 2008 law purported to make that type of domestic warrantless spying legal.
To put it plainly (mirroring Obama): "if you are a U.S. person, the NSA" CAN "listen to your telephone calls", and all without any warrant or any court, and they can do so in two ways:
(1) they need to find some non-American
that you (an American) were in contact with (against non-Americans - Who
Lack The Exclusive Birth Right Of Genuine Americans - anything is admitted, by Americans) and use that to track you (all without any warrant or any court: What right did you have to make contact with any non-
American?!?!), or (2) they simply leave the searches to the GCHQ, while
the NSA does the searches of the Brits, and both exchange the results
of their searches (which they again can make without any warrant and exchange without any warrant, from either a US or a British court).
Here is how it is outlined by Human Rights Watch:
Those who actually work to protect Americans’ privacy rights and other
civil liberties have been warning for years that NSA is able to
purposely monitor Americans’ communications without warrants. Human
Rights Watch has warned that
“in reality the law allows the agency to capture potentially vast
numbers of Americans’ communications with people overseas” and thus
“currently underpins some of the most sweeping warrantless NSA
surveillance programs that affect Americans and people across the
And here is in more detail how the first way I distinguished works:
Even more alarming is the power NSA now has to search the immense amount
of Americans’ communications data it routinely collects without a
warrant. As Goitein explained: “The government may intentionally search
for this information even though it would have been illegal, under
section 702’s ‘reverse targeting’ prohibition, for the government to
have such intent at the time of collection.”
The underlying point is that the Deep State - say: the military-industrial-security complex (<-Wikipedia) - wants complete dossiers on anyone; can create complete dossiers on anyone; but does not want to admit this until it is definitely too late for anybody to protest without risking disappearance:
And while — as I’ve argued previously —
any leaks that reveal lying by officials are criminal yet justified
even if they come from the CIA or NSA, Paul is also correct that these
domestic warrantless eavesdropping powers vest the Deep State — or, if
you na´vely prefer, our noble civil servants — with menacing powers
against even the highest elected officials.
The warrantless gathering and searching of vast amounts of
communications data essentially becomes a dossier that can be used even
against domestic opponents. This is what Snowden meant in his much-maligned but absolutely true statement
in his first interview with us back in 2013 that “I, sitting at my
desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal
judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”
Here is Greenwald's ending:
Those eager to preserve these domestic surveillance powers in their
maximalist state rely on the same tactic that has worked so well for
them for 15 years now: rank disinformation.
If nothing else, this debate ought to finally obliterate that
pleasing though utterly false myth that the U.S. government does not and
cannot spy on Americans’ communications without warrants. It does so
constantly, easily, deliberately, and by design.
Yes indeed. And the U.S. government spies on American citizens without any warrants basically because this is how they want to control the complete
American population in the future: "Let Me Remind You: If You Have NOT
Done ANYTHING We Secret Spies Dislike You Have NOTHING To Fear!!".
And this has a very good chance of
working, because the majority is conformist, not intelligent, has
little or no understanding of science or logic or philosophy, and looks
up to most leaders.
When it works, humanity may have hundreds
of years of successful dictatorship by the rich and the government, for
they can eliminate anyone who may be inclined to criticize them without any protest and without any knowledge: Their secret services will know everything anyone thinks or feels.
And this is the ideal situation for any authoritarian government.
2. China Warns U.S. & North Korea Are Set for "Head-On" Collision Amid Rising Tensions & Provocations
The second item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts with the following introduction:
The political upheaval in South Korea comes shortly after North Korea
test-fired several ballistic missiles. In response, the Trump
administration announced it would deploy a missile defense system to
South Korea. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of South Korean and U.S.
troops, backed by warships and warplanes, are currently engaging in a
massive military exercise. Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi
warned that the U.S. and North Korea are like two "accelerating trains
coming toward each other." He called on both sides to de-escalate
tensions. We speak with University of Chicago professor Bruce Cumings
and Christine Ahn, founder and international coordinator of Women Cross DMZ.
I will quote nothing by Bruce Cummings but
the situation is tense, what with Sourth Korea's prime minister deposed
and China's Foreign Minister issueing warnings:
Well, I’m concerned that we have a situation in South Korea that is
essentially a political vacuum until the next progressive president
comes into power. And we have a Trump administration that has said that
it’s, you know, undertaking a Korea policy review, which has ranged from
he’s willing to sit down with Kim Jong-un and have a hamburger to
preemptive strikes. And what really worries me is, while these military
exercises may be routine, you know, the South Korean media just reported
that the U.S. has deployed a team of Navy SEALs, that basically took
out Osama bin Laden. You know, it includes unmanned aircraft that could
basically completely destroy Pyongyang.
I say. One might think that North Korea has some 25 million inhabitants while it is a dangerous dictatorship, so it could easily be taken out, but:
Yeah, that’s basically taking out the North Korean leader. And I think
that there is a perception in this country that—that regime collapse is
imminent and that all it will take is a military action to conduct it.
And when has regime change ever been successful? And what would be the
likelihood for the millions of South Koreans right across the DMZ
and the innocent civilians? But it would engulf the entire region into a
very dangerous regional conflict—Russia, China, Japan, the United
States. By being part of mutual defense treaties, it will engulf the
entire region. Five of those—of the top 10 countries in terms of their
military capacity and defense spending are in that region. It’s a
Yes indeed. There is more in the original.
3. Hacking the Election: We Should Call Trump’s Bluff for a Watergate-Style Inquiry
The third item is by Bill Blum on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
At precisely 3:35 a.m. EST on March 4, President Donald John Trump—who has long boasted of his ability to function on just a few hours of sleep per night—launched perhaps the most incendiary tweet-storm of his tweet-filled career from within the gilt-encrusted confines of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.
“Terrible!” Trump typed on his trusty smartphone. “Just found out
that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the
[November election] victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
After posting two more tweets claiming that Obama’s plan to wiretap
him had been “turned down” by a court and that “a good lawyer” could
“make a great case” against Obama—and roughly an hour before taking to
Twitter again to blast Arnold Schwarzenegger for his ratings failures as
the new host of “Celebrity Apprentice”—Trump compared Obama’s conduct
Today a year ago I decided that Trump was probably a genuine megalomanic, that is, he is genuinely not sane,
since he is a grandiose narcissist. I did have a year in which I saw a
lot more of Trump, heard a lot more of Trump, read a lot more of Trump,
and I still think the same, except that my case is a lot stronger.
And indeed the above is strong evidence
that Trump is not sane, and to that extent I agree with Bill Blum. But
then he comes with a plan that seems - at the present stage of history
at least, with Trump just six weeks president - pure wishful thinking:
The Watergate hearings were instrumental in bringing about Nixon’s
resignation. They were also a civics lesson writ large in a time of
grave national disunity, as well as a collective search for political
truth and an exercise in speaking truth to power.
We need an inquiry of the same magnitude today, convened by either a
new select committee modeled after the one led by Ervin or an
independent commission armed with full federal subpoena power.
The probe we need should be directed at the entire issue of undue
influence, cyber and otherwise, in the 2016 election. It should be a
no-holds-barred affair, offering maximum transparency, with no
preconceptions, and guided by an abiding commitment to follow the
evidence wherever it leads, no matter whose reputations are sullied, or
whose misconduct or crimes are exposed.
There is a whole lot more, for Blum did think through the kinds of things he wants to see investigated - but I am sorry: I find his plan quite incredible and indeed pure wishful thinking. If you want to know more, click the last dotted link.
4. The Trump Dystopian Nightmare: Nuclear War, Climate Change and a Clash of Civilizations Are All on the Horizon
The fourth and last item today is by John Feffer: